Book Review: Straight talk about Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

by William K. Wilkinson. Published by the Collins Press: Cork, 2003

This book is essential reading for parents, children, and adolescents with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and for General Practitioners, Paediatricians, Child Psychiatrists, and Doctors working in Community Services.  It is comprehensive, and very practical and answers most of the questions that parents and professionals ask about Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. In addition it has a useful Appendix of Organisational Contacts for parents and also a useful reading list for parents and professionals.  It discusses in detail the diagnosis of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder as well as the causes of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.  It gives proper weight to biological and genetic factors. It also tackles the issue of ‘blaming’ the parents for the disorder.

In my experience the tragedy of Child Psychiatry / Child Psychology in the 1970s in Ireland, 1980s and indeed early 1990s was the tendency to see children’s problems with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder as being due to inadequate parenting.  This had a devastating and negative effect on parents.  The therapists of a family or psychodynamic orientation particularly took the view that the child’s problems were caused by the family dynamics.  Indeed this false view of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder still occurs. Wilkinson provides an accurate and balanced view of this complex topic.  Wilkinson gives a superb and detailed understanding of the Clinical and Educational Psychologist Assessment of persons with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.  He answers in detail the kind of questions parents asked about what Psychologists do.

One minor quibble is that there is no index and in the next edition of this most valuable book I hope that he will add in a Chapter on Adult Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder